Green Arrow's Must Read Stories

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Posted by k4tzm4n (41766 posts) - - Show Bio
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It's a good time to be Oliver Queen, a.k.a. Green Arrow. Not only has his CW show returned for a third season, but he's also Comic Vine's latest Character of the Month. We've praised some of his best covers and now it's time to recommend some of his best stories! If you're interested in the Emerald Archer but haven't read that much with him, we hope this list will motivate you to pick up one of the following stories and turn you into a Green Arrow fan.

There's obviously a lot of great issues and story arcs, so to keep things simple, we're going to recommend collections that should be pretty easy to obtain. If your favorite collection isn't below, go ahead and give it some praise in the comments section. Your love for the arc just may convince a fellow reader to pick it up.


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Green Arrow first appeared in MORE FUN COMICS #73 and his origin was later revealed in 1989's SECRET ORIGINS #38, but in 2007, GREEN: YEAR ONE updated the archer's story in an exciting way. Writer Andy Diggle, artist Jock, and colorist David Baron's limited series is packed with gorgeous visuals, a gripping story, and plenty of thrilling action as Oliver slowly transforms into a whole new man during his time on the island. We're placing this first on the list because it really is mandatory reading and a terrific starting point if you want to learn more about the character.


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Some people view Oliver as a more cheerful and wisecracking kind of character, but Mike Grell's time with the accurate hero was dark, compelling and completely immersive. This doesn't feel like a superhero comic or like Oliver's part of an over-the-top and surreal world. It was far more grounded, embracing a grittier world and the obstacles that come with it. This isn't Ollie dealing with aliens and monsters or helping against global threats. This story -- which introduced Shado -- has such a powerful atmosphere and forces the marksman to make a difficult decision; one which takes a huge emotional toll on him. The story alone is engaging and memorable, but Grell's artwork turns it into what is easily one of the top Green Arrow stories you'll ever read.

If you do end up appreciating this tone, we strongly recommend collecting Grell's Green Arrow ongoing. The first two stories, Hunters Moon and Here There Be Dragons, have trades.


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Green Arrow is dead, long live Green Arrow. Wait, what?! Kevin Smith handles the hero's return from the dead with a story that's full of cameos, humanizing conversations, and just a wee bit of entertaining action. If you're unfamiliar with the DC universe, it may be a tad confusing as the story delves deep into its big cast of characters and events, but Smith provides an adequate amount of exposition and it's such a character-driven journey. This one really is about who these characters, not how they can save the day. Phil Hester, Guy Major and Ande Parks' pages bring Smith's script to life with a more animated style. From the lighthearted moments (boxing glove arrow!) to the slightly darker content, their work is solid and consistently fun. Also, this includes the introduction of Mia Dearden!


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A street level archer and an immensely powerful space cop. That's not a team-up many would expect, is it? Sure, they both have "green" in their names, but aside from that, they operate in totally different worlds. Well, that's exactly what makes this team-up so special. Dennis O'Neil and Neal Adams' time with the duo focuses on their personalities and forces them into the harsh reality that many ordinary people have to face on a daily basis. Hal Jordan's pulled away from his usual business and sees what regular humans are forced to face. Naturally, their personalities clash along the way. The story didn't shy away from difficult subjects such as racism and drugs, either. The dialogue may be a little dated at times, but it's still a great insight into these two heroes and Adam's character work is always impressive.


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Now that Kevin Smith has brought Green Arrow back into the world, it's time to have him ease back into his role as a hero and start a new life with his supporting cast. But a masked gunman -- one who only says sound effects and kills with no remorse -- is taking out human heroes. This killer's next target: Ollie's son, Connor Hawke. The villain, Onomatopoeia, might be considered silly to some, but others think he's a haunting character. He's someone who has no trouble pulling the trigger and there's just no reasoning with him. The last thing you'll see is a gun in your face and the last thing you'll hear -- before the sound of the gun firing, that is -- is the villain saying "blam." The confrontation between the villain and Ollie is absolutely brutal and, just like in Quiver, the series' art team makes it all look so energetic and even a little cartoon-ish.


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The excellent visual team that worked with Kevin Smith remains on the title as writer Brad Meltzer brings Oliver on a new adventure. Literally picking up pieces after his death, this storyline has a heavy emphasis on character as Ollie and Roy collect artifacts from the archer's former life. The narrative really aims to give us a superb insight into Ollie and it's more than likely to keep a grip on your interest during the entire ride. A hugely entertaining and unforgettable fight with Solomon Grundy is just an added bonus.


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Oliver Queen has become the mayor of Star City. Unfortunately for him, Deathstroke, DC's most badass mercenary, has been hired to assassinate him. Judd Winick's story is action-packed as it shows off the archer's abilities as a tactician (don't worry, Deathstroke isn't sold short) and Winnick brings back Brick for even more action against zombie-ish people who are seemingly immune to pain. The story's enjoyable and builds interest in what comes next, but it's Scott McDaniel, Andy Owens, and Guy Major's lively and fun artwork that really makes an impact. If you do wind up liking this, we recommend reading the next trade, Road to Jericho. It just isn't a complete story without it, after all. And, if you want to learn more about Brick or Constantine Drakon, we suggest reading Winick's earlier issues. You can visit their Comic Vine pages (click the names above!) to see the exact issues.


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For many Green Arrow fans, Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, and Marcelo Maiolo'sGREEN ARROW run is one of the best things to come out of The New 52. Lemire's story does a ton of worldbuilding as it not only expands Oliver's supporting cast and villains, but also shines a spotlight on his origin story. The story will have you intrigued and emotionally invested, but it's Sorrentino and Maiolo's brilliant and creative visuals that'll have you hooked. Issue after issue, those two find new ways to drop your jaw. If The Kill Machine does win you over, you'll want to pick up The Outsiders War. The collected edition for their final story, Broken, is scheduled to go on sale next May.

What Green Arrow stories do you recommend? Don't be shy, share them with the world in the comments section below.

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#1 Posted by CaptainMarvel4Ever (9890 posts) - - Show Bio

I'll remember this list when I have more time and money.

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#2 Posted by dagmar_merrill (12701 posts) - - Show Bio

Long bow hunters!

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#3 Posted by AbdullahZubair (1039 posts) - - Show Bio

Going 2 check these out later. Is there anything i should be reading? Plz help

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#4 Posted by johnny_blaze (1357 posts) - - Show Bio

I still can't believe that the whole Green Lantern/Green Arrow storyline hasn't been captured on film or television. It's such a crime.

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#5 Posted by GraniteSoldier (12746 posts) - - Show Bio

Might need to check some of these out.

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#7 Posted by ShadowSwordmaster (19973 posts) - - Show Bio

This is a really good list.

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#8 Posted by nickzambuto (29288 posts) - - Show Bio

This is just what I needed since watching Arrow made me so interested in the character. Thanks k4.

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#9 Posted by dotwilson (334 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks for the list greg... def gonna be grabbing these if i can.

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#10 Posted by dondave (41760 posts) - - Show Bio

How is Road to Jericho not on this list?

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#11 Edited by Mrnoital (8214 posts) - - Show Bio

Love how so many of my favorite stories made the list

I think I might have liked the outsiders war a bit more than the kill machine, but the whole run was great

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#12 Edited by longbowhunter (9425 posts) - - Show Bio

This is definitely a greatest hits list. I recommend checking out all of Gregg's picks. Anyone who wants to get off the beaten path read Green Arrow: The Wonder Year or Batman/Green Arrow: The Poison Tomorrow, that was my introduction to Ollie. If your a Shado fan track down her 4 issue prestige mini. Fables is a pretty classic crossover starring Batman, Green Arrow and the Question. Much in the same vein was the The Brave & The Bold miniseries with Green Arrow, The Question and Butcher (who you may remember from Jeff Lemire's run). There's also the Alan Moore/Klaus Janson story, Night Olympics.

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#13 Posted by k4tzm4n (41766 posts) - - Show Bio

@dondave said:

How is Road to Jericho not on this list?

Read the descriptions, not just the picks ;)

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#14 Posted by Radx_Konkin75 (141 posts) - - Show Bio

Thanks for the list. I was wondering what pre New 52 Green Arrow stories I should read.

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#15 Posted by Saint_Talker (157 posts) - - Show Bio

Quiver & Sounds of Violence are my top 2 GA stories...

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#16 Posted by deactivated-5c901e667a76c (36557 posts) - - Show Bio

I've read all of these except Archer's Quest and One Year Later.

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#17 Edited by WarDishy_ (1252 posts) - - Show Bio

I own Year One and have the first few issues of the Kill Machine! One day I will own some more of these.

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#18 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (45774 posts) - - Show Bio

Year One is the greatest Green Arrow story ever told.... imo

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#19 Edited by kalorama (252 posts) - - Show Bio

I found Smith's and Meltzer's runs to be largely unimpressive. They both did some nice character bits (particularly with Connor and Mia) but I felt they didn't hold up well structurally. And while I liked the One Year Later stuff, I think the run by Winick and Hester is one of the character's high points.

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#21 Edited by StMichalofWilson (5631 posts) - - Show Bio

The Archer's Quest definitely one of my favs

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#22 Posted by patrat18 (11747 posts) - - Show Bio
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#23 Posted by Boynerdgeek (2733 posts) - - Show Bio

One year later is very underrated. Also that is more like Deathstroke compare to lazy writing Brad Meltzer in Identity Crisis where he makes Deathstroke take out all JL which is until now still ridiculous

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#24 Posted by Scarbearer (784 posts) - - Show Bio

Man this makes me want to go back and read some of the Classic O'Neal and Adams stuff. Sure it is dated now, but really if you compare it to what other comics were doing at the time it's mind blowing. Also glad to see the Mike Grell run get some love. I've always really liked some of the things he did with Ollie and I feel like he was a big influence on what is making Arrow successful as a show.

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#25 Posted by UltronMk7 (122 posts) - - Show Bio

I was never a fan of Green Arrow until the New 52 revamp. I just hated that Robin Hood look. Just thought it was ridiculous. The Lemire/Sorrentino N52 run changed all that. Fantastic book. much similar to the excellent version we get on Arrow. Some of those classic stories are probably pretty good, I just never gave them a chance back then.

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#26 Posted by Ostyo (14103 posts) - - Show Bio

@xwraith: Did you agree with these picks?

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#27 Posted by deactivated-5c901e667a76c (36557 posts) - - Show Bio

@ostyo: Pretty much, yes. I liked The Outsiders War more than The Kill Machine, but you kind of have to read the latter to understand the former.

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#28 Posted by mak13131313 (1601 posts) - - Show Bio

All of these are great!

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#29 Edited by CitizenJP (782 posts) - - Show Bio

Jeff Lemire's run was sooooo awesome. Kill Machine and The Outsiders War were epic.

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#30 Posted by fil123 (677 posts) - - Show Bio

i cant take GA serious with the ridiculous facial hair, thank god the new 52 took it out

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#31 Posted by BlackLegRaph (5523 posts) - - Show Bio

Pretty good list. The only one I haven't read is the New 52 one.

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#32 Posted by Wilbertus (535 posts) - - Show Bio

Bookmarked it. Definitely want to read all of these once I got the time.

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#33 Posted by tupiaz (2259 posts) - - Show Bio

No surprising picks here.

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#34 Edited by batmite1995 (423 posts) - - Show Bio

Kill machine!

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#35 Posted by jwalser3 (6127 posts) - - Show Bio

Some hoe the Brightest Day issues didn't make it? It's Green Arrow living and fighting in a forest!

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#36 Posted by ComicStooge (22063 posts) - - Show Bio

I've read most of these! Woo!

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#40 Edited by detective38 (215 posts) - - Show Bio

Mike grell arrow is hands down the best arrow of all time kevin smith arrow and that new 52 garbage aint worth readin

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#41 Posted by amazing_webhead (9918 posts) - - Show Bio

What is it with superheroes and standing on rooftops?

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#45 Posted by StayclassyMarvel (83 posts) - - Show Bio

I loooooove these "must read stories" columns.

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#46 Posted by deadpool25mm (864 posts) - - Show Bio
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#47 Posted by E5TEN (298 posts) - - Show Bio
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#48 Posted by deactivated-57925b9f7193d (1 posts) - - Show Bio


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#49 Posted by ScouterV (7764 posts) - - Show Bio

Honestly, I think after today you can add the first volume of Green Arrow: Rebirth.

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#50 Posted by HighAccuser (9696 posts) - - Show Bio

Mike Grell made me a fan years ago

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